Earth’s Many Stunning Waterfalls
This tribute to Earth’s Many Stunning Waterfalls should come as no surprise to anyone. Water is the source of all life on this planet, and mankind has held a deep fascination with it since time immemorial. This fascination is only increased by the sheer beauty and splendor that Nature creates in the form of waterfalls. Enjoy.
Kuang Si Falls
Kuang Si Falls Facts
- Kuang Si Falls ranks as an astonishingly beautiful waterfall with truly incredible qualities.
- It also has a somewhat remote setting, which serves to limit tourism, and consequently remains comparatively pristine.
- This geological masterpiece developed in northern laos, in Asia, where the local terrain stays quite rugged.
- That holds true of its location, so few tourists visit it without a guide.
- Due to the dangerous conditions in the region, bridges and walkways surround the site for safety.
- As a result of its great beauty, the location has been named a World Heritage Site. This well-deserved honor showcases the ethereal beauty of the entire location.
Kuang Si Falls Formation
Kuang Si Falls remains a mesmerizing three-tiered waterfall that begins as mere shallow pools on a steep hillside.
These flow into the main fall, which measures 200 ft (60 m) high.
A small level landing appears at the bottom of the main fall, and another set of much smaller ones follow. At the bottom, numerous small pools also formed.
At the same time, a multitude of miniature cascades flows from these pools. Many of these outpourings measure as much as 16 ft (5 m) in height themselves.
Though smaller, they seem no less beautiful.
Kuang Si Falls Distinctiveness
The breathtaking Kuang Si Falls forms a travertine waterfall where limestone in the water deposited over the ages.
While the numerous unique formations developed due to this action, the splendor of this location doesn’t depend solely on its geology.
Its water has incredible turquoise color and stays quite cold. In one location there exists a large pool which many locals and tourists alike use for swimming.
Most of all, however, the surrounding jungle gives the location a perpetual otherworldly feeling.
Yet one of the larger pools continues to be off-limits to tourists, being considered a sacred site by the local inhabitants.
Rhine Falls Facts
- The most noteworthy fact about the magnificent Rhine Falls remains its status as the largest waterfall in Europe. Consequently, its magnificence has inspired authors, poets, and painters for centuries.
- The sheer power of this geological marvel often makes it a potential source of hydroelectric power for surrounding regions. Thankfully, the public pressure to preserve the waterfall has thus far prevailed.
- While it has never been used for generating electricity, the waterfall has previously been utilized as a site for both a mill and an iron ore smelting facility.
- The Rhine Falls is one of the most popular tourist sites in Europe (one reason hydroelectricity has been ruled out). The presence of Worth castle nearby also augments the site’s beauty.
Rhine Falls Physical Description
The Rhine Falls measure roughly 490 ft (150 m) wide and the waterfall drops about 75 ft (23 m).
Yet flow rate varies by season, being greater in the summer due to run-off from mountain snowfall.
In winter, the flow rate averages 8,800 cu ft/s (250 cu m/s), yet increases to 21,000 cu ft/s (600 cu m/s) in summer.
The land the waterfall flows over primarily consists of limestone, and the outflowing riverbed has a deep cover of gravel.
This marvelous waterfall itself sits at an elevation of approximately 1,194 ft (364 m).
The World Waterfall databasee officially lists Rhine Falls as a Segmented Block waterfall.
Rhine Falls Location and Formation
Nature has placed the Rhine Falls on the High Rhine, rather near the border between the cantons of Zurich and Schaffhausen, Switzerland.
Remarkably, these magnificent falls formed between 14,000 – 17,000 years ago, during the last ice age.
This occurred because melting glaciers filled channels carved out by their previous expansion with torrential amounts of runoff.
While the source of the waterfall, the Rhine river, once flowed in another direction, it moved to its current course approximately 132,000 years ago.
Consequently, this allowed for the formation of the waterfall once the glaciers retreated, as the moving water eroded the surrounding limestone.
Palouse Falls Facts
- Palouse Falls serves as the name of a rather remote waterfall on the Palouse River. It sits 4 mi (6.4 km) upstream from where the river joins the Snake River.
- Both of these formed in the state of Washington, in the United States, in North America.
- As a result of its beauty, the falls constitute the central feature of the Palouse Falls State Park.
- On February 12, 2014, the Washington House of Representatives passed a bill unanimously making this stunning site the official state waterfall in Washington.
- The proposal for the bill actually began when a group of elementary school students in a nearby town lobbied the state legislature.
Palouse Falls Characteristics and Origins
The breathtaking Palouse Falls also represents a two-tiered waterfall. Its first drop is small, with the upper falls measuring only 18 ft (5.9 m).
The second drop lies approximately 1,000 ft (305 m) from the upper falls. The lower falls portion is about 180 ft (55 m).
In addition, both sections of the falls lie within a canyon which measures roughly 337 ft (115 m) in depth and is surrounded by vast scablands.
This area remains highly characterized by interconnected flood-created coulees, cataracts, plunge pools, potholes, rock benches, buttes, and pinnacles.
The Missoula Floods which swept through the region repeatedly during the Pleistocene Epoch formed both the canyon and falls.
Palouse Falls Economic and Recreational History
In 1984, the government also proposed to construct a 98 ft (30 m) high dam upstream from Palouse falls.
The idea was to provide less expensive hydroelectricity for the region.
Yet, a significant majority of local residents voted against the construction as they preferred to retain the higher electric rates in return for preserving the falls.
The areas surrounding the falls serves as a popular recreational spot, most especially for kayaking.
Devil’s Kettle Falls
Devil’s Kettle Falls Facts
- The mysterious, not to mention appealing, Devil’s Kettle Falls constitutes an almost unknown natural wonder.
- It also remains a mystery that still defies explanation. And who doesn’t love a good mystery?
- This unique waterfall known as Devil’s Kettle Falls remains a central part of the Judge C.R. Magney State Park.
- It is situated in the state of Minnesota, in the United States.
- The waterfall forms part of the final stages of the Brule River, as it approaches Lake Superior.
- It is here that a mystery occurs that remains unexplained to this day. Do you find yourself intrigued yet?
Devil’s Kettle Falls Geology
To the naked eye, the Geology of Devil’s Kettle Falls seems unremarkable, though certainly pleasing to the eye.
The waterfall occurs roughly 1.5 mi (2.4 km) before the end of the Brule River. The river drops an impressive 800 ft (244 m) over the course of only 8 mi (12.8 km), before flowing over a unique waterfall.
This flow gets divided by an outcropping of a type of volcanic rock known as rhyolite.
Its eastern section plunges nearly 50 ft (15 m) down a two-stage cascade. However, the other portion holds the beginning of the mystery.
Devil’s Kettle Falls Mystery
The unexplained phenomenon we call Devil’s Kettle Falls began perplexing mankind even before the first Europeans arrived on the continent. The Native Americans knew it well.
On the western side of the waterfall, the water swirls down a large hole in the rock. This hole measures approximately 10 ft (3 m) in diameter. No investigator, professional or amateur, has ever been able to determine.
It was once assumed it flowed into a subterranean river, into nearby Lake Superior. However, scientists have investigated, sending everything from ping pong balls to dye, to sensors down the flow.
No sign of any of these has ever been detected anywhere in the world, proving that Nature still keeps her mysteries.
Kaieteur Falls Facts
- Kaieteur Falls is a magnificent high-volume waterfall and also forms a central part of the Kaieteur National Park within the Essequibo Territory, Guyana. The falls are also situated in the middle of Guyana’s rainforest.
- The Potaro River supplies this marvel of geology and flows from the escarpment of the Pakaraima Mountains while eventually flowing into the Essequibo River. The river is among the widest and longest rivers in all of South America.
- The name of the falls comes from a local legend which narrates that an unpleasant old man was once placed in a boat and shoved over the falls by his relatives. Therefore, the fall’s name is Kaieteur which literally means old man fall.
Kaieteur Falls Physical Description
Kaieteur Falls sits at an elevation of about 4,380 ft (1,335 m). It is a single drop waterfall and also ranks as the 123rd highest waterfall on earth.
The waters of this incredible site also plunge roughly 741 ft (226 m) to the rocks below.
Though not among the tallest, it has one of the highest volumes of all known waterfalls. It generates an average flow rate of roughly 23,400 cubic ft (663 cubic meters) per second.
This incredible rate of flow gives it the 19th greatest flow rate of any known waterfall.
Kaieteur Falls Geology
Kaieteur Falls flows over a cliff composed primarily of sandstone. At the bottom of the plunge, the water flows over a series of steep cascades.
If taken as part of the measurements, they give Kaieteur Falls a total drop of about 882 ft (251 m). The width of the falls measures around 500 ft (152 m)..
Ban Gioc-Detian Falls
Ban Gioc-Detian Falls Facts
- Ban Gioc-Detian Falls is a rather spectacular sight; twin waterfalls on the Quay Son River, almost perfectly straddling the Sino-Vietnamese border, in Asia.
- One-half of the falls sits in the karst hills of Daxin County, Guangxi (China), and the other half – in Trung Khanh District, Cao Bang Province (Vietnam).
- The site also sits roughly 169 mi (272 km) north of Hanoi.
- These falls currently rank as the 4th largest waterfall along a national border, after Victoria Falls, Iguazu Falls, and Niagara Falls.
- The Vietnamese people consider the two falls to be two parts of one waterfall with the sole name Bản Gioc. Furthermore, the two parts are as thác chính (Main waterfall) and thác phụ (Subordinate waterfall).
Ban Gioc-Detian Falls Description
Chinese texts sometimes name Ban Gioc-Detian Falls simply the Détiān falls. During the summer rains, the two waterfalls may also join together.
The waterfall drops a total of about 98 ft (30 m) and is separated into three falls by numerous rocks and trees.
During the summer rains, the two waterfalls may join together. Then, the waterfall drops a total of about 98 ft (30 m) and is separated into three falls by numerous rocks and trees.
On most days, the thunderous effect of the water hitting the cliffs is audible from a great distance.
The place was also one of the crossing points for the Chinese army during the brief Sino-Vietnamese War.
Ban Gioc-Detian Falls Ecology
Near Ban Gioc-Detian Falls is the Tongling Gorge, accessible only through a cavern from an adjoining gorge. Rediscovered only recently, it has many species of endemic plants that exist only in the gorge.
In the past, this cavern was a hideout for local bandits. In fact, the treasures are occasionally still found in the cliff-side caves.
However, modern disputes arose, as there are discrepancies as to the correlating legal documents on border demarcation and the placement of markers between the French and Qing administrations in the 19th century.
Blood Falls Facts
- Blood Falls is an extraordinarily unique wonder of geology. It is an outpouring of melting salt water, which flows from a point on the Taylor Glacier.
- From there, the Blood Falls pour onto the frozen surface of West Lake Bonney which is in McMurdo Dry Valley, in the eastern section of Antarctica.
- This feature is famous for its constant blood red color.
- The same processes which form this wonder of nature serve to make Blood Falls of extraordinary interest to microbiologists.
- It is also of great interest to astrobiologists, who study it as a means of evaluating the possibility of life’s existence in harsh environments on other planets.
Blood Falls Geochemical Formation
The remarkable Blood Falls is an outpouring of iron-rich, hypersaline water which flows from small fractures in the layers of ice.
The source of the water is a subglacial pool, lying beneath approximately 1,300 ft (400 m) of ice. This pool sits about 2 mi (3.2 km) from the point where it emerges from the ice.
The precise size of the pool which spawns the Blood Falls also remains undetermined. Beneath the glacier, and between it and the underlying rock layer, is a region of brine with such a high saline level that it has remained liquid.
Rather high concentrations of ferric oxide within the deposit create a unique color.
Blood Falls Microbial Ecosystem
Due to its inherently unique development, Blood Falls also contains an incredible ecosystem of its own. Within its depths, autotrophic bacteria evolved and those actually metabolize ferric materials and sulfates for nourishment. In simple language, that is like eating iron.
An analysis of the water of the falls shows it contains at least 17 different species of microbes, and virtually no oxygen. Further, these microbes utilize sulfates as a catalyst for respiration.
Blood Falls is the only known place on earth where a form of life utilizing this metabolic process has been discovered. The rather amazing location presents scientists with the ability to study such a unique ecosystem thankfully without the need to drill down to it.
Yosemite Falls Facts
- The truly magnificent and often breathtaking feature known as Yosemite Falls forms the highest known waterfall in North America.
- It also forms a principal part of the Yosemite National Park. It comprises one of the key attractions of the park, especially in the spring, when the water flow reaches its heaviest.
- The base of the falls once served as the location of the main village of the indigenous Native Americans of the valley, named the Ahwabneechee tribe.
- The large plunge pool at the base of the falls served as a central component of their lives, as well as their mythology.
Yosemite Falls Physical Desription
The total measured height of the stunning Yosemite Falls measures roughly 2,425 ft (739 m). It forms a multi-tiered waterfall, composed of three primary divisions.
These we call the Upper Fall, the Middle Cascade, and the Lower Fall. The Upper Fall plunges 1,430 ft (440 m). This portion alone stands apart as one of the twenty highest waterfalls on earth.
The Middle Cascades account for another drop of 675 ft (206 m). This section actually comprises five smaller, individual falls.
The Lower Falls drop the final 320 ft (98 m). The large plunge pool at its base remains surrounded by a rather treacherous jumble of talus.
Yosemite Falls Location, Distinctiveness, and Dangers
The gorgeous Yosemite Falls remains considered one of the most beautiful sites in its region. This geological beauty lies situated within the Sierra Nevada mountain range, in California, in the United States.
Each year, unless rainfall totals in the surrounding region surpass the usual, the flow of water ceases entirely during either the late summer or fall.
Rock climbers occasionally take this opportunity to scale the normally inaccessible rock face at this time. However, this remains extraordinarily dangerous.
One scattered thunderstorm could send a surge of water over the falls, plunging the climbers to their deaths.
The local Ahwabneecheee tribe hold the legend that the plunge pool at the base of the falls is inhabited by the spirits of several witches, known as the Poloti.
Gocta Cataracts Facts
- The stunning Gocta Cataracts forms an incredible waterfall in an extremely remote section of the world, in Peru. It also ranks as the fifth highest waterfall that men know of.
- Though indigenous peoples knew about this place for centuries, it was completely secret to the rest of the world until 2005.
- The magnificent site flows into the Cocahuayco River. The area remains extremely remote, and the local terrain stays quite rugged and with a heavy forest.
- Yet, that does not scare tourists at all and a burgeoning tourist presence now appears to be developing in the area, despite the difficult terrain.
Gocta Cataracts Physical Description
The gorgeous Gocta Cataracts serves as a beautiful example of high altitude geology. The uppermost part of the waterfall lies at an altitude of about 7,500 ft (2,286 m).
Further, this marvel has two tiers and has a combined drop of an astounding 2,531 ft (771 m).
The upper section drops roughly 700 ft (213 m) while the lower falls plummets an incredible 1,831 ft (558 m). Also, the maximum width of the entire site measures roughly 200 ft (61 m).
The altitude at which this marvel of Nature formed is situated is sufficient that at times the uppermost portion is obscured by clouds.
Gocta Cataracts Location and History
The beautiful Gocta Cataracts lies within what ranks as one of the most remote and difficult to reach sections of the Peruvian jungle, in South America.
The researcher Stefan Ziemendorff was the first known non-local to ever see this astounding geological feature. Due to its remoteness and frequent cloud cover, this only occurred in 2002.
Regrettabl, for many conservationists, the Peruvian government decided in 2006 to develop the area surrounding the falls as a tourist site.
Athirapally Falls Facts
- Athirapally Falls forms a rather picturesque marvel situated in Athirapally Panchayath, in Thrissur District of Kerala. This sits on the southwestern coast of India, in Asia.
- This waterfall is also located on the west-flowing Chalakudy River, near the Vazhachal Forest Division and the Sholayar ranges.
- This picturesque 80 ft (24 m) waterfall and the nearby Vazhachal Falls remain extremely popular tourist destinations. Athirapally Falls has also been nicknamed The Niagara Falls of India.
- Yet, controversy about a state-proposed hydroelectric dam on the Chalakudy River, at a spot above the waterfalls, began in the 1990s and continues on to this day.
Athirapally Falls Source and Course
Athirapally Falls draws its water from the rather impressive 90 mi (145 km) long Chalakudy River. The river originates in the Anamudi mountains of the Western Ghats.
It then flows through the Vazhachal Forest toward the Arabian Sea. As a result, the river initially runs smoothly yet quickly becomes more turbulent as it nears Athirapally.
At Athirapally Falls, the water also surges around large and numerous rocks and cascades down in three separate plumes. Below the falls, the river remains rather turbulent for a distance of approximately 0.6 mi (1 km), until it reaches Kannamkuzhi.
At that point, it calms significantly and consequently flows smoothly until reaching the dam at Thumburmuzhi.
Athirapally Falls Ecology
The Athirapally Falls themselves represent a beautiful example of Nature. Yet, they represent only part of the natural splendor of the region.
Forest wildlife in the area includes the Asiatic Elephant, tiger, bison, sambar, and the lion-tailed macaque. The unique 590 ft (180 m) elevation of the riparian forest in the Athirapally-Vazhachal area is also the only location where all four South Indian species of hornbills are found dwelling together.
These bear the names of the Malabar Pied Hornbill, the Great Hornbill, the Indian Grey Hornbill, and the Malabar Grey Hornbill.
Plantations in the region also contain great quantities of teak, eucalyptus, and bamboo. The river also provides a habitat for 85 known species of freshwater fishes. Among these, 35 are endemic species.
Alamere Falls Facts
- Alamere Falls forms a remarkably beautiful and unique waterfall. This geological masterpiece lists as a type of waterfall known as a tidefall.
- This truly remarkable and visually stunning fall forms one of only two in the region. In fact, very few of this type exist anywhere in the world.
- The falls may only be reached by land via the Coast Trail. The terrain leading to Alamere Falls from above stays comparatively rugged.
- Consequently, the rather rugged nature of the area also makes the location a popular one for hikers. However, caution remains advised when attempting it.
Alamere Falls Geography
Though the lowest section of Alamere Falls garners all the attention, this unique waterfall formed as a multi-tiered one. It consists of a total of 4 drops in all.
Each of the upper three falls drops roughly 10 ft (3.1 m) in height. The lowest drop measures roughly 40 ft (12.2 m) high, giving the waterfall a total drop of about 70 ft (21.3 m).
The waterfall sits on Alamere Creek. The water flows throughout the year. The final drop of falls flows directly onto the beach and then flows directly into the Pacific Ocean.
During periods of high tide, the flow from the falls will drop directly into the ocean, making for a once-in-a-lifetime viewing opportunity.
Alamere Falls Location and Nature
The incredibly beautiful and unique Alamere Falls sits within the confines of the Point Reyes National Seashore, in Marin County, California, in the United States.
By its very nature, this truly magnificent site remains the rarest type of cascade in the world. Many also consider the type to be among the most beautiful.
From land, the site can only be accessed by undertaking a moderately arduous hike of roughly 2.5 miles (4 km). The same hike also passes by two rather small lakes.
The gorgeous waterfall itself draws the entirety of its water from the similarly-named Alamere Creek, which winds through the area.
Pearl Shoal Waterfall
Pearl Shoal Waterfall Facts
- Most notably, the breathtaking Pearl Shoal Waterfall remains considered by many to be the most beautiful waterfall in its region.
- In fact, this fabulous marvel of Nature formed within what now constitutes the confines of the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve.
- Rather understandably, given the beauty of this waterfall, and other features, this fabulous corner of the world is well-known.
- In addition, due to its great natural beauty, the Reserve represents both a World Heritage Site and a World Biosphere Reserve.
Pearl Shoal Waterfall Physical Description
The gorgeous Pearl Shoal Waterfall does not rank as large in terms of width, but it does, however, have a rather large width.
Its top has an average width of about 550 ft (163 m), although that changes somewhat as rainfall amounts in the region vary.
In addition, its drop measures around 130 ft 940 m), but the dimensions of the cascade are not the primary source of its beauty.
Finally, as it descends, the water flows over a series of uniquely placed outcroppings. This creates an incredible interlocking pattern of flows.
Pearl Shoal Waterfall Location and Ecology
The magnificent Pearl Shoal Waterfall formed in Asia, in what now constitutes Sichuan Province, in China, to be exact.
Furthermore, and perhaps, fortunately, this mesmerizing waterfall sits in a region that has been set aside as the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve.
It also represents a small portion of the Yangtze River system that has a vital impact on the region that it flows through.
The water flowing over the falls remains extremely rich in minerals, such as calcium carbonate, which gets deposited in quantity.
Finally, this mineral build up is so strong that allows plants and even small trees to actually grow within the middle area of the falls themselves.
Earth’s Many Stunning Waterfalls
Earth’s Many Stunning Waterfalls truly represent some of nature’s most astonishing beauty. Yet these marvels remain fragile, and must be protected and preserved. It is up to us and our descendants to ensure that they never vanish from the earth. Let us all do our part to ensure they remain with us forever.